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The Iranian government is celebrating the capture of Abdolmalek Rigi, the leader of a violent group called Jundullah (Arabic for Soldiers of God), which Tehran says is a terrorist organization supported by the United States, Great Britain and Israel.
Jundullah is one of several groups that have been conducting bombings and other violent attacks against Iran's Islamic regime with the aim of knocking it off balance.
In a July 7, 2008, article for The New Yorker magazine, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh quoted Robert Baer, a former CIA clandestine officer who worked in South Asia and the Middle East for nearly two decades, as saying that Jundullah was one of the militant groups in Iran benefiting from U.S. support.
Hersh also reported that President George W. Bush signed an intelligence finding in late 2007 that allocated up to $400 million for covert operations intended to destabilize Iran's government, in part, by supporting militant organizations.
Hersh identified another one of the militant groups with "long-standing ties" to the CIA and the U.S. Special Operations communities as the Mujahedin-e-Khalq, or MEK, which has been put on the State Department's list of terrorist groups.
But Jundullah has been spared that designation, a possible indication that the U.S. government views it as a valuable asset in the face-off against Iran, or in the parlance of the "war on terror," as one of the "good guys."
Gen. Mizra Aslam, Pakistan's former Army chief, has charged that the U.S. has been supporting Jundullah with training and other assistance. But the U.S. government denies that it has aided Rigi or his group.
Since his capture this week, Rigi has been weaving intricate, though inconclusive, stories about his contacts with American officials. According to Iran's Press TV, Rigi said the United States promised Jundullah military aid in support of its insurgency against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
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